The town of Tain, where Glenmorangie is located, is one of the oldest settlements in Scotland. Artifacts and remains have found there dating back to the 9th century
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Tours through the Glenmorangie distillery - available Monday to Friday all year round plus weekends during summer. Charges apply
The name of Glenmorangie is one of the most famous in the world of whisky. The distillery is located in the town of Tain, on the south shore of the Dornoch Firth estuary, approximately 40 miles (65km) north of Inverness. Their single malts whiskies are multi award winning and are consistently in the top three for world sales. The Glenmorangie ‘Original’ is also the best selling single malt in Scotland. The success of Glenmorangie is based on a history of innovation starting in the 1860s. It became one of the first distilleries to sell their whisky outside of their local area and later, by the start of the First World War be one of the first single malts to be truly established throughout the British Empire. The current stills at Glenmorangie are exact replicas of the original second hand stills that were installed in 1843 and create the famous and unique light, fragrant spirit. The eight stills are the tallest in Scotland at 5 metres (17 feet) high and make the stillhouse resemble a cathedral.
The water used in the production at Glenmorangie is unusual in whisky making, as it is hard water taken from the mineral rich Tarlogie Springs which bubble up through the bedrock in the distillery grounds. Most distilleries use soft water, as this is thought to produce the best spirit. Another difference that Glenmorangie have is the casks in which they mature their whisky. The current owners, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, embarked on research to find the wood to make casks that would perfectly compliment their whisky. They decided on white American oak and more specifically wood from the north facing slopes of the Ozark Mountains in the American state of Missouri. In fact, Glenmorangie now owns a forest in the Ozark Mountains where casks are made, filled with bourbon in Kentucky and once empty, shipped to the distillery.
The imposing distillery building at Glenmorangie was formerly a brewery. Illegal distilling is known to have taken place since the mid 1600s at the nearby Morangie Farm and the brewery was built and started production in 1738. The Morangie Farm Brewery was converted to a distillery in 1843 by William Matheson, a partner in the nearby Balblair distillery. He spent much of his money in the purchase of the site and therefore had to buy second hand stills from a gin distillery in London. This explains why Glenmorangie has much different stills to other Scottish distilleries as these gin stills were much taller than the pot stills traditionally used for whisky and had longer, thinner necks. Production started at the distillery in 1849 but by 1887, the demand for Glenmorangie whisky had outgrown the original site. The facilities were expanded and modernized with part of this included the installation of steam coils to heat the stills. They were the first distillery to do this, instead of heating them by fire. Glenmorangie became a victim of the depression that hit the whisky industry following prohibition in America and closed between 1931 and 1936. Shortly after production restarted, World War II began and barley was rationed which forced the distillery to close again between 1941 and 1944. The distillery went from strength to strength once it re-opened and has established itself as one of the leading and best selling whiskies in the world. as a result of its increased popularity, the distillery was doubled in capacity in 1980 and doubled again in 1990 to the current eight stills and four million litre capacity. The current owners are the French drinks giant, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), who took over in 2004 and rebranded the entire range in 2007.